No, we don’t mean that the cat needs an ice bath nor that it is the latest model on the catwalk. We mean that, among pet owners, cats are now the most popular, having finally lapped dogs in the race for America’s affections: there are officially more cats than dogs in American homes. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are 81.7 million cats and only 72 million dogs. However, there are more dog owners than cat owners—surely a testimony to the cat lovers’ desire for more than one feline!
That is certainly true of this author’s home. My husband and I try to contain the number of cats in our home, but then someone in the family will beg for just one more—“They have to get rid of him, Mom, and he’s so cute.” So, once again, our cats will number two or three. And, like other cat owners, we could use some help living with these somewhat cantankerous creators of catastrophe.
Fortunately, there is lots of help out there—some serious, some not so much. (If you doubt the idea of lightweight cat advice, come in and look at Dancing with cats, put out by the same people who published Why cats paint.)
But every year there are some good and serious books on the subject.For instance, this year Cat body, cat mind: exploring your cat’s consciousness and total well-being by Michael W. Fox was published. Another recent entry, Cat confidential: the book your cat would want you to read by Vicky Halls offers insight into the mentality of the average feline.
For those with problems, there are numerous helpful offerings, including The cat lover’s survival guide: helpful hints for solving your most pesky pet problems by Karen Commings, 2001, and Cat vs. cat: keeping peace when you have more than one cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett, 2004. Also, try Understanding cat behavior: the complete feline problem solver by Roger K. Tabor, 2003. Another possibility, described as an “enjoyable, enlightening book” by Publishers Weekly, is The character of cats: the origins, intelligence, behavior, and stratagems of Felis silvestris catus by Stephen Budiansky, 2002. For sheer enjoyment, there is The kingdom of the cat by Roni Jay, 2000. Reviewers describe this book as beautiful, with “glorious” pictures, as well as being a “useful compendium of cat lore and information.” This might be a good one to start out a child with a new kitten.
Then there are all the fun cat mysteries. Fans of The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun may be interested in similar books, such as the Joe Grey series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy or Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy series. Two other authors of cat mysteries are Carole Nelson Douglas (the Midnight Louie series) and Lydia Adamson (the Alice Nestleton series). These light-hearted reads are the cat’s meow! Get one today!